Currently preparing the syllabi for four-year programmes for several subjects under the National Education Policy, Delhi University has replaced a paper on Mahatma Gandhi in semester V of BA (Hons) Political Science with one on Hindutva ideologue, VD Savarkar leading to a lot of discontent among academic circles.
The National Education Policy introduced the concept of a four-year degree course of eight semesters following which, the University is now currently devising a formal syllabus for all subjects. What caused great discontent among the academic circle, was the replacement of Gandhi with Savarkar in the BA Political Science (Hons) curriculum. The ideologies of VD Savarkar will now be taught in semester V while Mahatma Gandhi has been shifted to semester VII, allege several DU teachers, adding that this would mean students opting for a three-year graduation course instead of a four-year programme will not study Gandhi.
The motion in this regard was passed at the Academic Council meeting on Friday, May 26, inviting heavy dissatisfaction among a section of teachers, who deemed it as a ‘saffronisation’ of education and an ‘attempt to compare Gandhi and Savarkar’. The final call in this matter will be taken by the Executive Council, the highest decision-making body in DU.
Previously, the curriculum included a paper on Gandhi in semester V and Ambedkar in semester VI. However, the council also decided to introduce Savarkar in the syllabus, under the National Education Policy. Academic Council member, Alok Pandey commented that the proposal to teach Savarkar in semester V at the ‘cost’ of Gandhi was disagreed upon in the standing committee meeting, where it was decided to teach Gandhi in semester V, Savarkar in VI and Ambedkar in VII, as per their age chronology. However, the resolution was brought to the Academic Council meeting despite the disagreement.
Opposing the move, Rajesh Jha, a former Executive Council member said that students should be exposed to Gandhi in initial semesters to develop ‘critical thinking’ as Gandhian ideas are ‘inclusive’ and ‘reflect the collective consciousness of our freedom struggle’. He also adds that Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy ‘stands for good politics as well as good individuals’ and hence, teaching Gandhi before Savarkar would have prepared students to understand the latter’s thought in a ‘broader and more balanced perspective.’
As per the PTI review, ‘Understanding Gandhi’ was previously a paper in semester V which aimed to acquaint students with the social and political thoughts of the Mahatma. The course objective mentions that the themes in Gandhian thought that are chosen for close reading are ‘particularly relevant to our times.’
While all these issues have been burning, the Vice Chancellor, Yogesh Singh refused several PTI calls to comment on the matter.
Several such major shifts have been observed in the syllabus of other courses as well, as the University gradually revamps its educational curriculum according to the National Education Policy, leading to growing discontent among teachers and students alike.
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